Monday, February 21, 2011

What I'm Reading: History of the World in 6 Glasses

I just finished reading a book that my buddy Loren gave me for Christmas called The History of the World in 6 Glasses.  It basically charts the course of human civilization by discussing six important drinks: Beer, Wine, Spirits, Coffee, Tea, and Cola. I mention the book in my blog because, as I've mentioned before, I'm a big fan of studying history and using that knowledge to influence my gaming. 

I'm not going to give the book a formal review - you can go to Amazon or wherever you prefer for that.  What I will say is that the book was full of really fun and interesting surprises regarding how these six drinks affected so many things, such as the superiority of the British Navy in the 18th and 19th centuries or the spread of American-style "democracy" in the 20th and 21st centuries. 

Of particular interest to me and my current campaign world building was the chapter on coffee and how European coffee houses were basically the 17th century version of the Internet.  Coffee was one of the first mass consumed drinks that actually made people more alert and focused versus dulling their senses.  Coffee houses became places for intellectual conversations about science, philosophy, business, and politics.  It reminded me of the way that we role-playing gamers tend to use the omnipresent D&D tavern for the same purpose in our games.  But, as I start thinking about my next campaign, I've already decided that I'm going to be advancing the timeline a little, so that my world will have a 17th century feel to it.  I think that replacing the standard D&D taverns with coffee houses will help to immediately announce my planned aesthetic clearly and easily to the players. 

2 comments:

  1. This is a great idea. You could recast dungeon-delvers as proto-archaelogical antiquarians, bravely opening old tombs in the name of science and/or fame.

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  2. This is a great idea. You could recast dungeon-delvers as proto-archaelogical antiquarians, bravely opening old tombs in the name of science and/or fame.

    Thanks, Jeff. I like that idea a lot. And it meshes perfectly with my ideas for having more ruins/dungeon exploration in my next campaign.

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